Scott Drummonds on Virtualization

Top Five VROOM! Entries for 2009

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I love VMware’s performance blog, VROOM!  It is our most popular performance communication vehicle and its content is backed by a stellar engineering team with unmatched integrity.  Each article details the nuances of VMware performance and educates on application and platform best practices.  I love all the articles but am always surprised as to which our readers find most popular.  Here is a countdown of the five entries most read in 2009.

Number 5: Comparing Intel Dual-Core and Quad-Core Using VMmark

This article received 4,700 views in 2009.  I am not surprised that this two-year-old article is so popular, though.  Even this morning at Intel’s live chat I was asked for advice on selecting core/socket configurations.  Everyone wants to know if the cores on the largest servers can be put to good use.  The article summed up findings with this graph:

VMmark results showing quad-core HP servers versus dual-core HP servers.

Doubling cores or sockets does not exactly double performance.  In this case the quad-core system produced 70% more throughput than its equivalent dual-core configuration.

Number 4: 100,000 I/O Operations Per Second, One ESX Host

In VMware’s early days customers were concerned that ESX lacked the storage throughput for demanding workloads.  In our first effort to dispel this rumor, we partnered with EMC to demonstrate a handful of VMs driving 100,000 IOPS on a single host.  A year later we updated those results on vSphere and showed VMs on ESX demanding 365,000 IOPS from EMC’s Enterprise Flash Devices (EFDs).  But the original article remains the more popular and has received 8,000 hits in 2009.

Number 3: Virtualizing XenApp on XenServer 5.0 and ESX 3.5

I guess that people love a good argument.  Our customers have heard enough misinformation on vSphere and XenServer performance that our performance team wanted to weigh in with a rare competitive comparison.  That article has received 13,400 hits in 2009.  It details an experiment in which we used a workload that will eventually be released as View Planner to demonstrate scalability performance of VMware’s and Citrix’s respective products.

In a heterogeneous workload based on a large number of applications, VMware vSphere outperforms Citrixs offering.

Desktop and terminal services performance is continually a hot topic.  Unlike enterprise applications, there is no industry standard for measuring virtual desktop performance.  VMware has favored an approach that uses many operations on the most common desktop applications.  Every other public comparison either restricts is measurements to a single operation or favors easy automation over application relevancy.

Number 2: Ten Reasons Why Oracle Databases Run Best on VMware

In his first public work at VMware, our Chief Performance Architect, Richard McDougall, showed us how good he is at evangelizing technology to large audiences.  His article has received 14,300 hits in 2009 despite its 2007 publication date.  Oracle databases are incredibly popular topics among VI administrators and Richard was the first to point out that VI3’s storage throughput ability was far beyond the needs of the average 4-way Oracle database:

In 2007, VI3 supported IO capabilities to support up to 80 4-way Oracle DBs.

Back in 2007 we were trying to convince everyone to virtualize their demanding Oracle databases.  We knew that VI3 could handle it and our early adopters knew, too.  But since vSphere launched, everyone has known.  If you think that vSphere cannot handle your most demanding Oracle databases, think again.

Number 1: Windows Vista Performance in VMware Workstation 6.0

I attribute the fact that fact that this aging article has received 15,000 hits in 2009 to the incredible size of consumer desktop products as opposed to enterprise software and hardware. But it is worth mentioning that this article was written by Zhelong Pan, the developer responsible for esxtop, who has also written the most popular article on the VMware performance communities. That guy has the magic touch!

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